A handsome Betjemann's patent tantalus drinks or spirits three-bottle decanter set of fine plate silver from Edwardian-era England
The tantalus has a silver plated handle and locking mechanism, the hobnail decanters are square in shape and heavily cut with round cut stoppers.
The silver plated handle is stamped "Betjemann's Patent London 44530" on one end and "The Tantalus" on the opposing end- this style of tantalus was patented by the poet Sir John Betjeman's grandfather, George Betjemann (who retained the original Germanic spelling of his name).
The lock barrel has a working Bramah key is pushed downward which allows the handle to rotate so the decanters can be removed.
A Tantalus is a small cabinet containing two or three decanters. Its defining feature is that it has a lock and key. The aim of that is to prevent unauthorised people from drinking the contents (in particular, "servants and younger sons getting at the whisky"), while still allowing them to be on show. The name is a reference to the unsatisfied temptations of the Greek mythological character Tantalus.